Inside story of Gattuso vs Jordan and the insults they exchanged 10 years ago

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A match-up to end all match-ups between Gennaro Gattuso and Joe Jordan in 2011 provided football fans from around the globe with a unlikely crossover bout that lives long in the memory.

The fiery Italian and veteran Scot, not to mention two of the hardest players of their generation, found themselves at at loggerheads during a Champions League showdown between Tottenham and Milan.

Gattuso head-butted Spurs coach Jordan as his temper boiled over during a shouting match on the sidelines as the north Londoners stole a memorable 1-0 first-leg win thanks to the clinical Peter Crouch.

The World Cup winning midfielder later stated that Jordan had ‘busted his balls’ throughout in a bid to get a reaction, while his agent alleged that the Scot had used a rather provocative insult to get a response.

There is, however, more to their altercation than meets the eye, with both men having history with the Serie A giants with only 16 years between their respective playing spells at the club.

Jordan, who was dubbed Jaws for his notable lack of front teeth during his playing days, featured for both Leeds and Manchester United in England before signing for Milan in 1981 and leaving two years later.

The former Scotland forward was highly regarded during his time at the San Siro, but that didn’t stop Gattuso’s verbal onslaught turning physical after his defeat.

Although Gattuso might have been aware that Jordan had indeed represented his club in the past, his history of losing his head suggested that he wasn’t going to take insults from a rival coach too kindly.

Although tempers flared after the final whistle, it was during the match that Gattuso first grabbed Harry Redknapp’s assistant round the neck in a taste of things to come.

The pair came together once again at full-time, with Jordan standing his ground against the younger man before receiving a light, but very deliberate head-butt, before a fracas broke out between rival squads.

Gattuso's agent, Claudio Pasqualin pointed the blame at the Scot, but the player himself felt the need to apologise and hope for a lenient ruling from UEFA officials.

Pasqualin alleged: ”Jordan, after having continuously heckled him, insulted him with truly low phrase, saying ‘f****** Italian bastard'. For one like Rino, who has a strong sense of his Italian identity, I think this is the most disgusting and unjustifiable of insults."

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  • With Gattuso adding after his yellow card ruled him out of the goalless second leg: "I lost my head, I did things I should not have done and I take responsibility for that. Jordan busted my balls for the whole second half, but I should not have reacted like this. I apologise, and if a ban arrives I will accept it."

    Jordan said of the clash in a chat with the Mail: “I just happened to be there. Whether he knew me or not I don’t know. I don’t think it would have mattered to him.

    “He’d lost it during the game, got booked and couldn’t play at White Hart Lane. And then he lost it in my area. He was the captain and you’ve got to be disciplined.

    “I’ve lost it a few times. Not that many. I very rarely got sent off. I wasn’t going to move, put it that way. Definitely not.”

    While Gattuso was handed a four-match ban for his actions, Jordan was not allowed to communicate to the Spurs team for their quarter-final first-leg against Real Madrid.

    Jordan later followed Redknapp to QPR and spent time as a coach with Middlesbrough, while Gattuso has impressed as a manager at Napoli after two years coaching Milan.

    Although both men have moved on with their lives since their duel, their verbal and physical match-up provides one of the most captivating and unexpected moments in the history of the Champions League.

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    • Tottenham Hotspur FC
    • AC Milan FC
    • Champions League
    • Premier League
    • World Cup
    • Jose Mourinho
    • Serie A
    • Net Worth

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